Dominica’s oldest living person, Anastasie Charles, has celebrated another birthday.
The now 108 year-old centenarian reached that milestone yesterday, April 26.
Charles who, it is said, has a memory like a computer, is considered a special gem in her community of Wesley, where she is known to the villagers as ‘Ma Maggie.’
Born on April 26th 1914 in Wesley, she bore one child, raised five grandchildren and worked as a farmer on the Londonderry Estate.
Ma Maggie ate what she grew, which is believed to have contributed to her longevity. She also cites, as other contributors to her long life, proper rest, a kind heart, patience, the goodness of God and most importantly, “never hanging your heart where your hand can’t reach as it stresses you out.”
Raised by strict parents, Charles recalls that during carnival time, her mother would take her and her siblings up to the garden/country so that they would not partake in carnival activities.
Nonetheless, she says she has been blessed with a good life.
Another centenarian, Mionette Gussi Bannis, is today celebrating her 106th year around the sun.
Ma Lawoss, as she is affectionately known, was born on 27th April 1916, in the community of Dublanc but has been residing in Paix Bouche.
The provision and fish lover was blessed with two children, who have since passed away. In her younger days, she worked as a cleaner at the Botanic Gardens and lived in Roseau for 10 years.
A Catholic at heart, she enjoys church, going on island tours, getting manicures and pedicures and giving lectures at the Paix Bouche Primary School in a her younger years.
Tomorrow April 28, Asher Timothy better known as “Uncle Mark”, who was born in 1917, will also celebrate the milestone of 105 years on earth.
As a teenager, he migrated to Guadeloupe and spent most of his life there. He returned to Dominica in 1971 and was an overseer at the Melville Hall Estate.
Though he never got married and has no children, he is considered a father to many in his community of Marigot.
Timothy was a hard working labourer and despite his age, he still spends most of his days in his garden. At the moment suffers from no illness.
Last on the list to celebrate her birthday is soon to be 103-year-old, Ms Antonine Roberts.
Born on April 30 1919, in the community of Grand Fond, she later relocated to Riviere Cyrique.
She credits her love of dancing for her longevity and the help of The Almighty Father. In 2020, Mrs Roberts lost her only daughter, who at the time of her passing, was 78 years old.
In March of 2021, Dominica was said to have the highest number of centenarians per capita-27. During the following months, the country was also expected to celebrate the 100th milestone of several other gems, which would have increased the total number to more than 30.
But the rise of the COVID-19 cases on island has sadly and alarmingly, decreased the number of centenarians to just 15 which the Dominica Council of Ageing (DCOA) says is the lowest number it has recorded.
The other remaining centenarians in Dominica are 106-year-old Mr. Oscar Phillip Joseph aka Popeye, Rennel Adrien -105 years, Angela Cuffy and Elma Labad – 104 years, 103-year-olds Felicite Alexander (Nenen) and Hesketh Casimir, 102-year-old Celina George, Jane Graham, Edvira Anatol and Epheline Elizee Laville who are all 101 years old and the youngest, 100-year-old Veronique Durand.